Barber-Nichols Completes Life Testing of Ventilators for NASA’s Future Spacesuits

Barber-Nichols Inc. (BNI), a Colorado-based engineering and manufacturing company, has recently completed life testing on a groundbreaking fan system intended for NASA’s next-generation spacesuits. As part of NASA’s Artemis mission, the system will be used to enhance astronauts’ breathing in space.

The fan, in conjunction with a ventilation loop, is a critical component of the Primary Life Support System (PLSS) that is integral to the planned xEMU spacesuits. The xEMU suits will be used during the Artemis missions, where astronauts are set to return to the Moon’s surface. The PLSS enables astronauts to breathe, minimise temperature extremes, and prevent the spacesuit from ballooning due to pressure differences.

The testing, conducted at Barber-Nichols’ facilities, validated that the fans will operate reliably in the vacuum and extreme temperatures of space, for durations in excess of the longest Apollo mission. The tests also confirmed that the fans could withstand the typical wear-and-tear associated with launch, crew donning/doffing, and emergency scenarios.

BNI’s collaboration with NASA exemplifies the company’s agility and expertise in addressing extreme environmental applications. The company’s blend of exceptional design, reliability, and durability continues to drive its reputation for technical innovation. When deployed, the system will mark a significant evolution in the life support capabilities of spacesuits.

Over the past five decades, Barber-Nichols has developed cutting edge products for several industries including aerospace, defense, energy, and pharmaceutics. Leveraging its extensive expertise, BNI will continue its efforts to create reliable systems that meet NASA’s needs in lunar and Martian environments.

Source: Barber-Nichols Inc.